Tulia School Loses Fight on Drug Testing 

Tulia School Loses Fight on Drug Testing 
Posted by FoM on December 03, 2000 at 13:43:41 PT
By Linda Kane
Source: Avalanche-Journal 
A three-year battle over whether the Tulia school district can randomly drug test its students was decided Friday in an Amarillo court.U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled in favor of a former student who claimed the random testing violated the Fourth Amendment protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Hollister Gardner was a student at Tulia High School when he went up against the school board that implemented its random drug-testing policy in January 1997. The policy affected students in grades 7-12 who wished to participate in extracurricular activities.Robinson's ruling, filed in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, states, ''This Court concludes that the mandatory random, suspicionless drug-testing program for all students participating in extracurricular activities at Tulia I.S.D. is violative of the Fourth Amendment.''Gardner, now 21 and a senior at Angelo State University in San Angelo, said he doesn't believe Robinson's ruling will be overturned if the case is appealed.''We've won the court case in the constitutional sense,'' he said.Gardner's father, Gary, was a school board member when his son contested the drug-testing policy. He was the only school board member who did not vote for the policy.The drug-testing policy affected about 80 percent of the student body.Hollister Gardner's aunt and uncle also filed suit against the school district on behalf of their two children, Molly, now a senior, and Colby, now a sophomore. Their claims were included in Friday's ruling.Robinson also ruled that the school board acted in good faith when implementing the policy.''Finally, the Court finds that each of the school board members acted in good faith and did not act from corrupt motives in adopting the drug-testing program,'' the ruling said.Supt. Mike Vinyard said it's likely that when the school board meets at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, they'll decide to appeal the case.Vinyard said he believes the case could be overturned.''There have been some other circuit court decisions in similar cases that were decided in favor of the school districts,'' he said.Hollister Gardner also claimed in his lawsuit that the school board and the superintendent retaliated against him after he filed the lawsuit. Robinson said there was no evidence of retaliation.Gardner acted as his own lawyer throughout the case and said it was a challenge taking on the school board. Tulia, with about 5,000 residents, is 70 miles north of Lubbock.''Everyone knows everyone in a small town,'' Gardner said. ''So basically people pick sides.''For lack of a better word, they excommunicate you,'' he said. ''They don't want to associate with you. It's real touchy in a small town when you do something controversial.''A similar case is pending in nearby Lockney, where one parent has filed suit against the school district for randomly drug testing students.Gardner said he's glad his case has been resolved.''I believe the Constitution of our country is there for a reason,'' he said.Linda Kane can be contacted at 766-8754 or lkane lubbockonline.comSource: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)Author: Linda Kane Published: Decenber 3, 2000 Copyright: 2000 The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Contact: ajnews Website: Forum: Feedback: Article:Judge Allows Student Challenging Drug Testing Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on December 04, 2000 at 05:50:54 PT:
Insane, Out of Control Place!!!!!!
This is a day old, and I'm the first to comment? How many of you realize that Tulia is the same place where they busted a major percentage of the black populace for alleged drug crimes. This has to be investigated thoroughly, for it may turn out that this small town in Texas will prove to be a watershed example of excesses in the War on Drugs. Bush needs to be queried and re-queried on this until he provides some answers.
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